Grandest Canyon in the Northern Rockies A landscape of sheer cliffs towering 1,000 feet above a ribbon of blue water. World class fishing and a place where wild horses still run free. Bighorn Canyon is a place where imagination meets reality. Bighorn Canyon has unrivaled recreation possibilities.
The hike is short, but steep and strenuous on the way back. Beautiful waterfall with a big pool at the bottom. Just wish that the smokers from Gillette had at least had the decency to pick up their cigarette butts. Picked them up in their stead. Leave no trace people!
I just completed hike this again with a group of 19 other guys who's ages ranged from 18 to 66 years old. Needless to say, the young guys made quick work of the descent and ascent, however most of the guys ages 40 and up had to stop frequently on the way back up to catch their breath due to the steep incline. Per usual, the scenery at the bottom was amazing! I was surprised nearly 25 people at the falls (although we were there on a Saturday). Most were swimming and sunbathing, and a couple were scuba diving looking for gold dredging opportunities. Apparently there are still some active gold claims farther down the stream that issues out of the pool at the base of the waterfall.
The trail from the Bucking Mule Falls trailhead to the falls overlook is a nice, 2-3 mile out and back hike. This hike can be done by hikers of all ages. Hiking from the falls overlook down into the base of Devil's Canyon will bring you down an extremely steep trail (it drops 2000ft in 2 miles). The river crossing at the canyon bottom is roughly 5 miles from the Bucking Mule Falls trailhead. Hiking from the base of the canyon to Porcupine Creek will net you another 6 miles of slowly rising trail. Saw a lot of bear tracks near the river in the base of Devil's Canyon; saw an enormous black bear about 7 miles into the hike. IF YOU'RE PLANNING ON HIKING THIS PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING: When my dad and I hiked this in mid-July of 2013 there were no signs on the trailhead to warn us about what we were getting ready to encounter. Beginning at mile 6 (1 mile on the other side of the river at the base of Devil's Canyon) the trail literally disappeared under thousands of downed pine trees from a storm in May of '13. The trees were felled in every direction, so the criss-crossing trees make this area nearly impassable. There is no way to get a pack animal through, let alone a four wheeler or any sort of rescue vehicle if needed. It continued this way for almost every inch of the next 5 miles. It was slow, painstaking going, and took us hours because we had never hiked this trail before and we were trying to locate the trail underneath all of the fresh deadfall. Most all of the National Forest trails signs have been broken off and smashed underneath these trees. In some places the trees were stacked 3 and 4 high. We are very experienced hikers, but this situation was dangerous (having to climb over and under massive limbs and trunks) and very demoralizing. Eventually, with nightfall impending, we broke our trail off at mile 11 just after crossing Porcupine Creek and used our compass to navigate straight north to the gravel road that leads back to the Bucking Mule Falls trailhead. The next day I checked the other side of this 15 mile trail (the Jaws trailhead) to see if there was any safety warning posted to let hikers know about the dire situation of the trail, and I was very disappointed when I found none. I HIGHLY ADVISE HIKERS TO CHECK WITH THE FOREST RANGERS IN THIS DISTRICT BEFORE HIKING THIS. IF THE DEBRIS HASN'T BEEN CLEANED OUT, DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS.